Bird’s Eye and Paisley Paddles

It may not rise to the level of peanut butter and chocolate, but pine and cotton work just fine as paddle blades. My so-called ‘creative side’ favors the machine made paisley in all its many colors and patterns. My eye also likes the wild patterns found in nature, in this case a pair of book matched knots and the revelation of ‘birds eye’ upon slicing open the chunk of pine.

Both paddles perform just fine, in spite of the burden of being ‘non-standard’. Pine offers widespread availability, affordability, a light color, a variety of complementary colors, and an array of amazing textures and inclusions. Pine paddles are great!

Fiberglass and epoxy are the original (WWII era) lightweight composites that have greatly changed just about every industry that has ever used them. If you appreciate industrial history and the little known underpinnings that greatly advanced our culture, then you might appreciate the global story of how epoxy and fiberglass were ‘invented’. Laboratory ‘accidents’ figure heavily into that narrative. Clearly, planes (the original and urgent application in the WWI era), skis, cars, boats, and a long list of other items benefit from strength and light weight. In the paisley fabric canoe paddle case, I used just cotton fabric and the epoxy. No fiberglass. So far so good. If the cloth had not done what I hoped then I (still) have some light weight two ounce fiberglass cloth to overlay the cotton cloth. It looks to my eye though, that cotton fabric both saturates and provides a substrate in much the same way that fiberglass does. The MAJOR difference of course, being that cloth is not transparent like fiberglass is when it is saturated.

So build your own! Let your creative loose a bit and try something non-standard in your next project. Then….go paddle it!


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